Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Two junctions, the Wendover Arm and some reservoirs.

ERRATUM: If you have read the header to this blog you will know that I make no claim as to the accuracy of any "Facts" published, so I feel no shame in admitting to another blooper. Andy, narrowboat Briar Rose, was kind enough to point out that the plan to double the locks did come to fruition. On checking, Alan H. Faulkner, in his book The Grand Junction Canal, tells us that in 1835 the Soke Bruerne Locks were duplicated and subsequently twenty three locks northward from the summit at Tring were given a narrow lock alongside for the use of single narrow boats, mainly as a water saving device. They didn't last long, by the 1850's they were being filled in as the water supply problems had eased due to the new reservoir at Wilstone. Some were used as the basis for side ponds. Plans to add duplicate locks south of the summit were scuppered by disagreements with the local millers at Kings Langley.
Thanks also to Andy for pointing me in the direction of narrowboat Morgan Le Fay's blog for a photo' of the collapsed lock 12 on the Aylesbury Arm. Does not look good.
But back to today, not too early a start and onto the water point at Marsworth Junction.

 The old warehouse still stands but

the rest of the site is just a wasteland of rubble. When they build those luxury houses they're going to have really rocky gardens.

We passed the junction with the Aylesbury, now padlocked off so no trip to the land of the great white duck.

We climbed the seven locks, passing another of the Grand Junction Canal mile posts

that seem to chide us for our slow progress. On the way up we could hear the distinctive sound of a working boat coming down, it was Hadar making her way north. Just time to say  "Hi" to Jo and Kieth and we were on our way. What a beautiful sound their engine makes, it comes from a time when even a diesel engine had a soul.
At Bulbourne Junction our intention was to turn right onto The Wendover Arm so we were about ready to leave the lock when a boat arrived to wind at the junction, just as a boat started to emerge from the arm to come into the lock, we deserved a gold medal in narrow boat synchronised dancing.

We negotiated the chaos and made the awkward turn onto the arm.

Maybe one day Wendover will again be connected to the main system but for now there's only a mile and a half of quite narrow and shallow cut.

Heygates flour mill, there was once a windmill on the site, the modern mill now produces 76,000 tons of flour a year.

The present end of the line, despite general belief, you cannot walk the old towpath to Wendover, it is firmly fenced off here.
After a light lunch we set off for a stroll around the reservoirs that supply the summit of the G.U., Tringford, Marsworth and Startop's End.

Tringford pump house, it pumps the water from the reservoirs up to the summit level.
We walked along the lane from Little Tring Bridge until we came to:-

I have nothing to add, any comment would be superfluous.

It leads to the reservoirs.

Wigeon? The illustrations in my much thumbed Readers Digest Field Guide to the Birds of Britain (1981) are not overly clear on this one.

I know what this is, it's coltsfoot, another sign that, despite the weather, spring is here. Please note the colour of the sky in all the photo's, apart from the wind it has been a lovely day.
The Met. Office seems to think that it may, N.B. may, start to warm up next weekend.

Watch this space...........


Adam said...

You're just doing it deliberately now!

Adam (not Andy!)

Graham and Jill Findlay said...

Doh! It's an age thing. My mind is inclined to wander, sometimes I worry it won't come back.